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Dumb Phones for Seniors and Kids: Panasonic TU110, 150, 456, 466

Kannon Yamada 05-09-2019

Panasonic’s 2019 dumb phone lineup is for people who want less complexity from their mobile phones such as seniors and children. The most interesting feature is a new distress-alert system that could save a loved one’s life.


What’s a Dumb Phone? Panasonic’s Lo-Fi Cell Phones

Dumb phones, or “feature phones”, come in three types that everyone over 30 should remember: clam shell, candy bar, and flip phone. The cell phones differ from smartphones in several key areas: their battery lives are measured in weeks, rather than hours, they’re cheap and disposable, dumb phones offer superior privacy, and—above all else—they’re perfect for seniors and children.

Panasonic’s 2019 refresh of their feature phone lineup includes the following four models:

  • Clam shell-type TU456
  • Clam shell-type TU466 (identical to the TU456 but with GPS and a charging deck)
  • Candy bar-style TU110 (along with an identical but larger TU150)

Panasonic Dumb Phones 2019: TU456 and TU466

The Panasonic TU456 and TU466 are mostly dumb phones, in a clam shell-style form factor. It sports all the basic features required by a senior citizen. The TU456’s physical buttons make a satisfying click when pressed, which makes dialing numbers a more tactile experience. Its large and bright LCD screen is both visible in direct sunlight and uses large-format lettering—perfect for those with impaired vision.

Like the other phones in this article, its standout feature is an emergency SOS button located on the back of the phone. When pressed and held, the trigger button activates an SMS-based distress beacon. Summoning the beacon immediately fires off a call to five predefined contacts, usually a friend of family member. If the first contact does not answer the call, the TU456 and TU466 cycles through its five contacts until someone answers.

In the event no one answers, the phone automatically sends an SMS to its five contacts. The TU466 automatically piggybacks along GPS coordinates whereas the TU456 lacks GPS functionality.


This photograph captures the back of a Panasonic dumb phone called the TU110

Along with a two-week battery life, SMS capabilities, rugged construction, and a clam-shell folding mechanism that protects the screen and numpad from damage, the TU456 and 456 include status light indicators when closed.

This is a photograph of a Panasonic TU456 dumb phone with status indicators

Panasonic TU110 and TU150 Candy Bar Dumb Phones

This is an image of a Panasonic feature phone

The Panasonic TU110 and 150 are Panasonic’s simplest cellular phone models. They’re both durable, lightweight, and provisioned with extremely long battery life—just like most feature phones. Like its brother phones, the TU110 and TU150 do not include any semi-smart features like email. They’re designed exclusively for endurance and ease-of-use.

The candy bar comes in two models, the TU110 and the TU150. As the number designation suggests, the TU110 is slimmer and more appropriate for children. The TU150, on the other hand, comes with wider keys and larger lettering making it perfect for those with visual impairment, such as seniors.

Like the TU456, the 110 and 150 include an emergency SOS button. While Panasonic clearly markets the emergency button toward the elderly, it’s also of clear utility to younger users. As such, the TU series can fit the needs of anyone who may need extra assistance and greater reliability from their phones.

Panasonic’s Dumb Phone for Kids and Seniors

All four models are available for purchase in many Eastern European nations, such as Russia, with a possible release in the United Kingdom. The TU110 sells for approximately $40, the TU150 around $50, the TU456 for around $70, and the TU466 for around $80.

Related topics: Dumb Phones, IFA.

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  1. Godel
    September 15, 2019 at 10:49 pm

    I'm in my late sixties and I've always called them "dumb phones' as an obvious alternative name to "smart phones" since they lack most of the smart phones' complications and unnecessary (for some) features.

    It makes more sense than calling them 'feature phones" since features are what they're lacking. The big mistake is in assuming that only oldies are interested in phones with just the basic communication features and a minimum of add-ons.

  2. hotdoge3
    September 15, 2019 at 8:59 am

    A dumb phone lacks the features of a smartphone, there will be either no internet connection or a limited connection, few if any apps, had one be for no apps keyboard only no full screen good for kids keep off YouTube & Facebook ):-

  3. Grandma Michelle
    September 13, 2019 at 7:13 pm

    I resent the implication that "seniors" are not tech savvy and "dumb"..... I'm 66 and I bought my first 'Apple' computer in the ’80's. Currently, I'm waiting to get my new iPhone in a few weeks. I'm one of those "dumb" seniors that drools when Apple releases their new goodies. Oh, I'll be getting the new IPad Pro, also. It's going to be an amazing piece of technology. Oh yeah, I'm also a grandma to 3 great rugrats. Hummmmm, I also read your (generally) uninformed tech updates. You could learn a little more, as a general rule, your articles are a step behind.

    Signed ~ Grandma Michelle

    • kannon
      September 14, 2019 at 6:52 pm

      Sorry for my lack of grace Michelle. The use of the word "dumb phone" was only intended to mean the opposite of a smart phone, so something with fewer features.

  4. alma32
    September 7, 2019 at 12:15 am

    I would agree with the senior who resented the implication that seniors are stupid. Simple solution... just don't use the term "dumb phones" when writing these type of articles. That's just a made-up term and certainly not how the makers of those phones would refer to their own products. How about "basic phones" or "senior friendly phones" instead? See?

  5. Father Putin
    September 6, 2019 at 4:45 pm

    "Eastern European nations, such as Russia"...
    you failed geography or what? Mother Russia is NOT EE! Nor part of EU!

  6. infmom
    September 5, 2019 at 8:10 pm

    I will be 70 next year and I REALLY resent the constant assumption that seniors are stupid.

    We didn't grow up with technology. The transistor radio was horrendously expensive when it was first introduced, when most of us were in grade school, and no way would our parents give us one to mess around with. Likewise the family's record player and TV. They were fragile and expensive and kids were firmly trained to keep their mitts off. There was one TV and one phone per house and most families had one car.

    The things younger people have had all their lives were not invented till we were adults and had had a lifetime of being told not to mess with things. That's a lot to un-learn.

    I would really like to see how younger people would deal with the world their parents and grandparents grew up in.

    For the record, I'm a tech savvy granny who used to do tech support for Toshiba. I worked in the repair shop in a big box store. I replaced the cracked screen on my chromebook not long ago. And my smartphone works just fine, thank you.

    • Kannon Yamada
      September 6, 2019 at 11:41 am

      Hi Infmom, I apologize for not taking into consideration the large number of retired and retiring technology experts out there. I should have emphasized that among seniors there are many experts who could teach masterclasses on smartphones and other smart technologies.